Art for a Cause: Artists Team Up with Rolls-Royce to Battle Breast Cancer

Charming Baker One in Eight
Charming Baker, One in Eight

Maddie Salters rolls up to the Rolls-Royce Showroom at Berkeley Square to view works presented for the Breast Cancer Care Art Auction.

At the Rolls-Royce Showroom in Berkeley Square, passion, support, and community were affectionately curated for the benefit of breast cancer patients. The Breast Cancer Care Art Auction, brought together by Breast Cancer Care and supported by Rolls-Royce, invited twelve stunning contemporary artists to create an impactful piece that would push the boundaries o modern sculpture while showing great respect and care of the theme. I was honoured to attend the preview of the auction on May 19th, and deeply touched by the philanthropic efforts of all involved.

The Breast Cancer Care Art Auction offered its artists a challenge: using a 1:18 scale replica model of a Rolls-Royce Ghost, create a thoroughly modern stand-alone sculpture. Each creator took to the task differently, with some crafting purely abstract visions of conflict, consequence, and career choices. However, each piece echoed its heavy subject matter. In RR Shades of Grey, Sam Taylor-Johnson’s use of gradient is a haunting reminder of how what we see on the outside does not always match what goes on within, a testament to the everyday strength of breast cancer patients. While Andrew Salgado’s Painter’s Palette playfully coats the Ghost in a dappling of every colour, it echoes the way one’s profession invades all aspects of their life, almost simplistically, without notice or trying: it is not a stretch to imagine how illness can do the same.

While the cohesion of the auction collection is stunning, the pieces which had the most impact were those that grasped the thematic subject matter in an undeniable way.

Maggis Hambling’s Out of the Depths, which features a wave-encrusted Ghost brandishing itself out of the sea made me stop on the floor to take it in. At the model car’s helm is the Spirit of Ecstasy, the Rolls-Royce emblem, stationed like a ship’s Figurehead, but also mid-flight like an angel, leading the model from the dark of the water and back into air, into light. The piece has a wonderful sense of motion, that rather than its stationary brothers, it is moving ahead, forward, lifting itself. The sensation of triumph against insurmountable odds is overwhelming and inspiring.

Equally striking is Charming Baker’s One in Eight. One in every eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK. This staggering statistic is represented by the Ghost being suspended in a block of clear resin, where despite its power, grace, and assemblage, two of the sixteen holes drilled through the resin move right through it. It depicts the very real force that this illness is, and how randomly chosen are its sufferers.

Lastly, Angel Palmer’s The ghost is a beautiful visual play on words. The only piece not to use the model car, but instead to etch its features in many layers of translucent resin, creating three-dimensionally, shows a vulnerability and embraces the irony of the model’s name, Ghost. However, it also focuses on the power housed inside of the vehicle, rather than merely by its shell, challenging the implications of the word Ghost.

In all, the collection of art and artists showed a wonderful amount of futurism in their work, both abstract and aesthetic, with nature and technology in tandem, as they must be as we move forward towards a cure for breast cancer. Richard Carter, Director of Communications for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, said of the collection: “This has been an exhilarating collaboration which promises to raise valuable funds for a very worthy cause.”

The pieces will be privately auctioned at the Royal Automobile Club (89 Pall Mall,  SW1Y 5HS) on 30 June. All funds will support Breast Cancer Care, the UK’s only breast cancer-specific charity, which offers support and care to patients, and training and networking to skilled nurses, with a focus on bolstering vital early detection screenings.

Works include pieces by Mark Wallinger, Richard Wentworth, Maggi Hambling, Yinka Shonibare, Gavin Turk, JJ Adams, Charming Baker, Natasha Law, Angela Palmer, Andrew Salgado, Stuart Semple and Sam Taylor-Johnson.

If you are interested in bidding, contact Emily Hoogstraten, Philanthropy Manager at emily@breastcancercare.org.uk.

To view the projects, please visit breastcancercare.org.uk/artproject.

To learn more about Breast Cancer Care, please visit breastcancercare.org.uk. With special thanks to Rolls-Royce, 15 Berkeley Square,W1J 6EG. Find out more about Rolls-Royce at rolls-royce.com.

About Madison Salters

Inflicted with wanderlust from a young age, Maddie is a native New Yorker who has lived abroad for half of her life, from cities spanning Montreal to Osaka. While there’s still a lot on her ‘to trek’ list, she has currently landed with both feet firmly in London. As a seasoned writer and cultural essayist, you can find her work in print and online across international publications. In her spare time, she works with UNESCO, jots in notebooks, and tempts dogs into letting her pet them. She is thrilled to have the chance to guest write for the indomitable tikichris blog.

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